Psychology of a Stalker and the Psychopath…

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“A psychopath ain’t a professional. You can’t work with a psychopath.”Reservoir Dogs (1992)
If you have been trying to wrap your head around why your stalker or the psychopath in your life behaves the way they do, it can be darn near impossible. Whatever the reason, it’s unwanted and can cause fear, disruption, confusion and damage in your life.

You can find countless definitions, interpretations and opinions out there. A jaunt over to Wikipedia can be helpful. You can spend hours, days, weeks, years, decades on research, observations, tests, and try to even categorize the stalker or psychopath. The fact is, they are a different breed.

There is an interesting website hosted by Dr. Sam Vaknin, and an article he has written titled The Stalker as Antisocial Bully. He says that stalkers have narcissistic traits and many of them suffer from personality disorders. He also states that the vindictive stalker is usually a psychopath and that they all conform to the classic definition of a bully.
Bully, huh. Read more about bullies on my post The Serial Bully if you want to evaluate or learn more about a psychopath or stalker.
A lot of people loosely use the term psychopath to describe someone, without knowing what it truly means. Psychopath is a description of a character we can laugh about when we watch a movie, and a word depicted in literature and books.
Defined, in the American Heritage Dictionary, a psychopath is:
“A person with an antisocial personality disorder, manifested in aggressive, perverted, criminal, or amoral behaviour without empathy or remorse.”
Basically, if you have taken the time to study the psychopath, you will realize that there is no treatment for these people. Without trying to offend any readers here, unless a psychopath is dead, or relocated to an island they cannot (ever!) leave, or you suddenly become way too boring for them to harass you, they might never leave you alone.
Forget about incarceration, as findings indicate psychopathic convicts have a 2.5 time higher probability of being released from jail than undiagnosed convicts, even though they are more likely to re-offend. Sounds promising, doesn’t it!
“No. Discretion is not traditionally the strong suit of the psychopath.”Frenzy (1972)
If you want to wear an analytical or scientific hat for a moment, here is the Cleckley Checklist. In his 1941 book, Mask of Sanity, Hervey M. Cleckley  introduced 16 behavioural characteristics of a psychopath:
Superficial charm and good intelligence
Absence of delusions and other signs of irrational thinking
Absence of nervousness or psychoneurotic manifestations
Unreliability
Untruthfulness and insincerity
Lack of remorse and shame
Inadequately motivated antisocial behaviour
Poor judgment and failure to learn by experience
Pathologic egocentricity and incapacity for love
General poverty in major affective reactions
Specific loss of insight
Unresponsiveness in general interpersonal relations
Fantastic and uninviting behaviour with drink and sometimes without
Suicide threats rarely carried out
Sex life impersonal, trivial, and poorly integrated
Failure to follow any life plan.
“You want to question a psychopath without professional help?”Psycho IV: The Beginning (1990)
Forget about relying on the justice system to help you, I mean, to really help you. Psychopaths and stalkers can be so unique – as are the circumstances – so cookie-cutter approaches just don’t cut it.
And the fact is, it is difficult to lay charges and actually convict these types of cases so your energy is likely better utilized finding other ways to spend your precious time. Don’t get me wrong, I am all for locking these people away in a dark hole in a faraway land, but I am not going to sacrifice my life and sanity just so they can spend a few months or years behind bars.
Do yourself the biggest favour and protect your safety and peace of mind by looking out for yourself and your own needs. The police and justice system consistently fail victim after victim, so its pointless to reason with those people if they will not listen, or try to get them to understand your personal tragedy and experience. (Some of those characters are often psychopathic as well, precisely why they are in careers of power and authority).
So, ongoing efforts to engage the police, lawyers and the courts can be equivalent to poking your eyeballs out with a fork. Not an idea of a fun time!
“Some psychopath is out there stalking you, and he stole my tv and it’s not a big deal?”What about Brian (2006)
My advice – just stay the heck out of their reach!
No matter what the threat, try to not let it affect you. File reports and grievances if you like, document it all, but live your life. It is your right! However, it seems these days that it is not our right to tell people who are mediocre and lazy how to do their job properly. Or hold them accountable. Save that for their own superiors. Think of karma or that-what-goes-around-comes-around. Success and happiness are the best revenge…

According to Christopher J. Patrick in the Handbook of Psychopathy, clinicians do not believe that there is a cure nor effective treatment for psychopathy; there are no medications that can instill empathy. It has been scientifically proven that psychopaths who undergo traditional talk therapy only become more adept at manipulating others. This tells me that we cannot help them. There is no hope for them.

In my web research activities, I also came cross an interesting blog, called Souless Psychopaths. It’s a compilation of an assortment of articles and writings, covering topics such as the cult leader as a psychopath to how world governments work their agendas. We have psychopaths in the workplace and creeps running our kids’ Boy Scout groups. Since they are everywhere, we need to find our own ways to manage how their behaviours affect us. We certainly don’t want them to get the best of us, tearing our souls apart.

So how does stalking and psychopathic behaviour affect us?

J.R. Meloy describes in The Psychology of Stalking , the activity of stalking as “the wilful, malicious and repeated following and harassing of another person”. Author Eric Blauuw and others stated in The Toll of Stalking that “the prevalence of anxiety, insomnia and severe depression is much higher among stalking victims than the general population, especially if it involves being followed or having one’s property destroyed.” 
The fact is, the results can be completely devastating, both on our physical and our mental health.

Anyone who has had firsthand experience of harassment and abuse will agree that having a stalker is pretty serious. It can drain the life-blood out of you. Steal away your resources, sever relationships, end careers and suck away at your time. It’s a crime against innocent and unsuspecting people. It is a difficult one to prove, sometimes extremely difficult to get the support we need, and an expensive use of the public’s resources prosecute.

Victims of stalking are faced with insurmountable hurdles when attempting to prosecute a stalker, or even simply terminate the behaviour. Reason being, most victims cannot monitor or control the actions of the stalker. If that was possible, the epidemic would have already been resolved. We would have them all living on the moon, relocated far, far away.

The reality is, it takes a concerted effort of numerous people and agencies, all with ample resources (financial and mental – yes, translation, rich smart people!) to manage the situation. I say manage because there is no guarantee of control over the stalker or psychopath’s behaviour, nor assurance that the pursuance will end. You can only manage yourself and your own reaction.

Who really wants to deal with a psychopathic stalker anyway, let alone give any good advice? Practically no one! Some professionals may advise you to sue them, taking them to court, which costs you money and makes the lawyers wealthier. Some law enforcement officers will suggest what they are trained to – get a restraining order. Not many people will give advice because no one wants to be liable for any bad results.

Even the professionals can have the tables turned on them, becoming victims themselves, adding more to the manipulation and drama. Stalkers and psychopaths are not people to be reasoned with. Threatening them doesn’t work either – it often only inflames the situation.

It is especially a difficult area for single mothers to deal with if they have children from a past abusive relationship with a stalker or psychopath. Big burly boyfriends are not going to suddenly become your knight in shining armour by having a good talk with the psychopath. That rarely works.

Police will avoid doing their job (dealing with a psychopath) by telling us that it is a civil matter to be resolved in the courts; then the judges will direct the victims back to the police to apply for a restraining order. It is a vicious circle.

The stalker or psychopath can also legally bully their victims, which is more often seen when kids are involved or a severed relationship, which disrupts and sidetracks everyone the true problem. And causes extreme financial hardship and grief to their victims.

It isn’t hopeless though, there are answers, and there is help. But a forewarning – the majority of the answers are within you, and you will often be faced with having to go solo on this type of issue, and help yourself.

Every situation is unique, so stalking victims are ultimately responsible to ensure their own privacy, safety and domestic tranquility. (Don’t count on the police to do that for you. Or a big burly tattooed guy from the questionable side of town.)

The fact is, every single one of them is unique and weird in their own disturbed way. Some can be annoying without any threat of physical harm, while others actually do severe damage and kill. Never underestimate a stalker; they all have the tendency or potential to eventually be dangerous.

They are like bullies in the playground of our lives, they can bother us to no end if given the opportunity to play in the same park. – Flora Loveday
Certain methods may not work for every situation and some advice that professionals in the justice system provide can often prove dangerous (or even fatal) to a victim. Prime example, we repeatedly see in news reports that a woman has gone and successfully received a restraining order, and shortly thereafter, is found murdered or seriously harmed.

Question everything you read and every piece of advice provided. One of the best techniques we can all do is tap into personal intuition or to “go with our gut”. If it doesn’t seem right, it isn’t. If it smells bad, it does. If it seems like the right thing to do to be safe or sane, try it.

My next article, Use Your Inner Arsenal and Do a Risk Assessment will explain more about how you can use your intuition to guide you, along with a free online resource to assess any risk you may face with a stalker or psychopath.

Until next time… keep safe and sane…

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